Sydney taps seam gas
COAL seam methane natural gas is a fuel with a low carbon footprint. It provides a low- cost, economic transition energy source.
John Saunders, chairman of Sydney Gas which runs a project at Camden, outside Sydney, says coal seam gas is expected to provide an increasing proportion of the natural gas supply to the east coast of Australia. He says independent industry commentators believe that by 2020 this could be as much as 50 per cent of gas.
Saunders believes the Camden project will be important for the NSW economy. It will give communities, business and industry access to competitively priced gas and the opportunity to create more jobs and business opportunities. At the same time, gas extraction does not interfere with normal uses of the land.
Currently, Camden generates almost 5 per cent of current gas consumption in NSW and eases the heavy reliance on gas from Victoria and South Australia.
A significant innovation in Camden is the recent proving up of ‘‘ surface to in seam’’ ( SIS) wells, which apply horizontal drilling techniques to access gas up to 1500m from the surface location. Through a single well gas from a large geographical area can be drained. This reduces the number of surface locations and accesses acreage that might otherwise be off- limits because of difficult terrain.
Coal seam gas is an important environmental energy resource, generating 50 per cent less greenhouse emissions than conventional coal electricity generation.
The Camden gas project is a 50- 50 joint venture between Sydney Gas and AGL Energy . It operates under four petroleum production licences covering 207 sq km. The plant at Rosalind Park has the capacity to handle 26 terrajoules per day - potential for significant growth in future sales of natural gas for Sydney Gas.